By Blog of Lists - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 0 Comments
Canadian politicians inundate us with election ads, pamphlets and lawn signs. For that, we can thank the more than 500,000 voters who open their wallets to donate to political parties. Here, Maclean’s examines the five postal codes that have given the most to federal politicians. (The results include individual donations of $200 or more between 2007-10, excluding the most recent federal election in May 2011.)
1. V2A 5C5 (Penticton, B.C.): $210,857
Canada’s most generous postal code leads to an address on Main Street in Penticton, but in reality comes from a single donation to the New Democrats by the estate of a long-time supporter. Ruth Millicent Hass, who lived in nearby Kaleden, B.C., died at age 89 in April 2010 and bequeathed the single largest donation to any political party in at least 15 years. The riding is represented by Conservative Dan Albas. Continue…
By John Geddes - Monday, April 4, 2011 at 9:17 AM - 23 Comments
Days into a contest of meanness, a surprisingly clear contrast on honest-to-goodness platforms has suddenly emerged
In the final days leading up to the campaign of 2011, Stephen Harper largely dropped out of sight. The Prime Minister stopped showing up for question period when his government’s fall became inevitable. After the opposition voted down his Conservative minority, he read a muted response from a podium in the ornate foyer of the House, and took no questions. There was reason to suspect he might be setting the tone for the race to come. After all, polls showed him well ahead, and a classic, minimalist front-runner’s strategy would be to do nothing to risk shaking things up. But Harper had other ideas.
From the steps of Rideau Hall after visiting the Governor General to set the campaign in motion, and at every stop after, he lashed out at his main rival, Michael Ignatieff—accusing the Liberal leader of intending to break his word and join forces with the NDP and Bloc Québécois. In return, Ignatieff indicted Harper for “a systematic pattern of falsehoods.” “He wouldn’t recognize the truth if it walked up and shook his hand,” he said.
By Paul Wells - Friday, April 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 159 Comments
Paul Wells on the Liberal leader’s surprisingly good start to the election campaign
“You know, Mr. Harper doesn’t like elections,” Michael Ignatieff told a room full of Liberals in Mississauga, Ont. For the Prime Minister, he said, elections seem to be just “a kind of pesky interference in the normal course of things.” The crowd of 500 packed into the Payal Banquet Hall obligingly made disapproving noises.
“I’ll tell you why he doesn’t like elections very much,” the Liberal leader went on. “Because it’s the moment when the power returns to the people of Canada. We love elections, don’t we?” The crowd started to applaud. “We want an election!”
It was the first weeknight of the election campaign, barely 80 hours after Stephen Harper’s government fell to a non-confidence vote in the Commons. A few hours before Ignatieff spoke, Harper had promised an income-splitting plan that would allow one spouse to transfer income to another so the two could pay a lower total tax bill. “Fine and dandy,” Ignatieff allowed as he described the plan to the crowd.
By Paul Wells - Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 4:26 PM - 35 Comments
Here’s some video I shot while covering the Harper campaign. On Wednesday he was outside Toronto. On Thursday he was in Halifax. Both times he delivered a strong economic message to a handpicked Conservative party audience. And on the first day he issued a challenge to Michael Ignatieff he would soon regret.
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 11:53 AM - 4 Comments
When I wasn’t tweeting, blogging, preparing my article for the next issue or arming for battle with Colleague Coyne, I shot some video on Monday and Tuesday from the Ignatieff tour. Here are some highlights. I’ll try to bring you more video as the campaign progresses.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 5:45 PM - 0 Comments
Paul Wells follows the Liberal leader around Toronto
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 28, 2011 at 5:24 PM - 57 Comments
The Toronto Star makes its demands of the next five weeks.
A country as well-placed as Canada is now should not settle for short-term politicking and stunted ambitions. We deserve a government with the imagination and boldness to take steps now that will ensure we build on the advantages we enjoy, and share them more equitably.
The Globe editors have their own demands.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 28, 2011 at 11:05 AM - 10 Comments
Susan Delacourt reflects on the lessons of campaigns past.
Reporters will make “fit to govern” judgments based on how well the tour buses perform in the area of feeding and accommodating the media. Campaign buses that get lost or break down or fail to provide three square meals a day to reporters will be pronounced abject failures at political leadership/competence.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 11:02 AM - 11 Comments
In the early going, John Geddes will be our man aboard Mr. Harper’s campaign. For the first days, I’ll be travelling with Mr. Ignatieff’s tour. Early next week, I’ll jump off and Paul Wells will jump on.
For the rest of the campaign we’ll be variously out and about, but more on that later.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 168 Comments
Judging from the Conservative party’s campaign slogan (“Here for Canada”) and the placard that adorned the Prime Minister’s lectern yesterday (“Canada”) and the giant flag behind him (Canadian), not to mention the actual content of Sunday’s speech—some of which was presaged by a speech to supporters last fall—Mr. Harper’s preferred ballot question would seem to be this: Who loves Canada most? Or, put as less of a question: I love Canada more than Michael Ignatieff.
In a way, this inverts questions Mr. Harper has himself faced. (At the outset of the 2006 campaign he was asked rather bluntly by a reporter whether he loved the country and Paul Martin’s campaign attempted to make something of the fact that his answer didn’t include the word “yes.) In another way, it reintroduces—if one wishes to engage in this debate—everything Mr. Harper has himself said about the country he now loves deeply.
Of the comments of Mr. Ignatieff’s that Mr. Harper’s side objects to, one involves the Canadian flag. That particular quote is taken from a column Mr. Ignatieff wrote for the Observer in 1990. Mr. Ignatieff wrote about the experience of watching the World Cup as a Canadian in England and, coincidentally, the irony of modern nationalism. The piece can be read, in its entirety, here.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 24, 2011 at 4:09 PM - 31 Comments
Today, the New Democrats hosted a tour for reporters of their campaign headquarters. John Baird subsequently explained that while other parties were participating in political provocations, his party was interested only in governing.
Four years ago, the Conservatives hosted a tour for reporters of their campaign headquarters. John Baird subsequently explained that while other parties were participating in political provocations, his party was interested only in governing.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:10 AM - 32 Comments
The Conservatives don’t want an election, but are willing to start the campaign here and now with half a dozen new adverts. In the first clip, we learn that to protect Canada from European rioters, Stephen Harper is sitting alone at his desk all day, doing a lot of paperwork.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 13, 2010 at 1:49 PM - 73 Comments
The 2006 election campaign that brought Stephen Harper to power on a promise of new accountability continues to raise questions of accounting.
The Canadian Press has learned that chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand has taken the governing party to task for failing to properly report the cost of running two regional campaign offices in Quebec. The $107,000 tab was divvied up and claimed as a shared expense by 15 candidates in Montreal and Quebec City. They claimed the expense even though Elections Canada found many candidates never used the regional offices, which were staffed by central party workers involved in what appear to have been national campaign activities.
Pundits Guide has more.
By Colby Cosh - Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 4 Comments
Meg Whitman may have had cash, but at age 72, it was Democrat Jerry Brown’s time for a comeback
At around lunchtime on Oct. 28, California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown releases his itinerary for the home stretch of the campaign. With the vote set for Nov. 2, Brown and his Republican rival, billionaire businesswoman Meg Whitman, have been playing chess with the map, snaking through sun-drenched valleys as they vie for undecideds in the land of high technology and fiscal catastrophe. After a good month, Brown, governor of the state from 1975 to 1983 and its current attorney-general, has a double-digit lead in the polls. His early disclosure seems like a display of contempt, a warning of inevitable checkmate.
Brown’s plan includes a Nov. 1 get-out-the-vote rally on the steps of L.A.’s giant Central Library, an Egyptian-influenced 1920s bizarro-Deco edifice. The library is a natural choice. It signifies all the virtues Democrats, and Brown in particular, see themselves as standing for: intelligence and learning as opposed to instinct and faith; harmony between the civilizations of East and West; the power of public works to beautify the city and elevate the soul.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 11:35 AM - 66 Comments
Former NDP campaign Brian Topp links the public’s relative acceptance of Stephen Harper to Paul Martin’s fear-based campaigns against him.
Here the Prime Minister continues to be the long-term beneficiary of Paul Martin’s foolish 2004 and 2006 campaigns, which set out to paint Mr. Harper as a demonic figure who would destroy the planet if elected. He would point guns at your face; unload troops on your lawn; and fill the skies with black smoke. Mr. Harper has done none of these things, so far – and so he continues to benefit from the expectations game created for him by his less politically skilful predecessor.
Oddly, that description of the boogieman is rather reminiscent of a certain campaign ad that ran during the 2008 campaign… Continue…
By Martin Patriquin - Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 9:19 AM - 0 Comments
The Liberal leader hasn’t made too many friends in La Belle Province
Michael Ignatieff’s first pseudo-campaign through Quebec as Liberal leader was a glitzy affair during which he pontificated on bloodlines, belonging and “the act of imagination” involved in loving a country like Canada—ideals culled from his then-just-published tome True Patriot Love. His current so-called Liberal Express tour was decidedly more pedestrian; at an old age home in the Montreal suburb of Longueuil recently, Ignatieff listened as a handful of seniors and municipal politicians kvetched about bridge traffic, airport noise and the lack of recreational facilities. Macaroons and apple juice were served.
So goes the transformation from public intellectual to politician—one that, according to polls, hasn’t been altogether smooth. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Quebec, a province crucial to Liberal fortunes in the next election. Ignatieff remains bogged down by party infighting and an enduring struggle to get out from under the sponsorship scandal that nearly decimated the Liberals in 2006. According to online poll aggregator Three Hundred Eight, the Liberals have dipped 12 percentage points in Quebec over the last 16 months.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 9:30 AM - 17 Comments
The Federal Court ruling today dodged the issue of the legality of the Conservatives’ 2006 federal election ad spending scheme issue even more than Aaron hints at, as the ruling went in favour of the candidates only because the basis of the “balance of convenience” principle means that they should be reimbursed for their full expenses now because the legality of the scheme is yet to be determined.
So, in order to have the issue of the legality of the scheme ruled upon by the courts, Elections Canada must proceed with a prosecution through the Director of Public Prosecutions, and/or an appeal of today’s ruling to the Federal Court of Appeal.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 18, 2010 at 12:28 PM - 129 Comments
A Federal Court judge rules in favour of the Conservative side, with a caveat of sorts.
Elections Canada had contended that the Conservatives effectively skated around the party’s $18.3 million spending limit by channeling the cost of the ads through its candidates’ campaigns, which have their own spending limits. There was no evidence, the electoral agency argued, that the expenses were legitimately incurred by the candidates.
In a ruling released Monday, Justice Luc Martineau disagreed, saying the two candidates did incur the expenses. He ordered Mayrand to approve the claims. Martineau said, however, that the decision does not necessarily bear on an investigation of the ad buying program currently being conducted by the Commissioner of Canada Elections, William Corbett.
“There is a fundamental distinction between legality and legitimacy,” Martineau wrote. “As far as the overall legitimacy of the (regional-media buy) program is concerned, this is a debatable issue, which is better left for public commentary and debate by all interested persons outside the courts.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 2, 2009 at 3:14 PM - 19 Comments
Dan Gardner cheers.
If the cash-strapped media decides to save a few bucks by putting fewer bums on plane cushions, there will be more bums in newsroom seats. Those bums will have to do something that can be done from a newsroom. They might, for example, examine the parties’ policy proposals. Or investigate the accuracy of leaders’ statements. Or do any one of a hundred things that are more informative than anything that comes out of the travelling circus that is the leaders’ tour.
In sum, election coverage will improve. And we’ll save cash doing it.
By Alex Shimo - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 5:35 PM - 4 Comments
The David Suzuki Foundation monitored the carbon footprints of the three of the main…
The David Suzuki Foundation monitored the carbon footprints of the three of the main political parties this year. Measured in tons, they were:
Green Party: 2.5
Elizabeth May’s footprint was extremely small because Continue…
By John Geddes - Friday, October 10, 2008 at 3:11 PM - 0 Comments
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s bus convoy pulls in for an afternoon rally at a Kitchener, Ont., Conservative candidate’s storefront headquarters. It’s in a strip mall anchored by the winning combination of Stop ‘n’ Cash cheque cashing and The Bettor Club off-track betting.
By John Geddes - Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 12:48 PM - 3 Comments
Polls consistently show that health care is one of the top two or three concerns of Canadians. Yet it has barely registered in this campaign.
Stephen Harper announced a couple more health initiatives in Vancouver today: $10 million over two years to support a lung disease strategy that combines health and environmental policy; and $15 million for a four-year study of frightening neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Yesterday, he pledged money to lure back Canadian docs practicing abroad, recruit and train more nurses, and pay for 50 new residency slots in teaching hospitals.
Unspectacular but solid stuff, slated for the closing days of the campaign back before anybody knew economic turmoil would dominate the race. Harper tacitly acknowledged he’s got no hope of cutting through the cacophony surrounding the financial-market crisis with anything as mundane as combating horrible illnesses. Closing his remarks on health policy, he said: “Of course, to carry it out and to continue making progress, we need to protect our economy.”
In other words, “And now, back to the only story anybody cares to talk about.”
By Paul Wells - Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 12:00 AM - 0 Comments
Dion held his own in the debates. Can he keep the momentum?
Stéphane Dion still loves to talk. Clearing 20 minutes for an interview at the front of his campaign plane on Monday was a cinch. The Liberal leader had ready answers for every question and apologized profusely when time ran out. “If you have more questions, just ask. Don’t hesitate.”
The moment was propitious, because Dion’s young and inexperienced staff was starting to realize that he might soon get a chance to run more than his mouth. After two years of getting sand kicked in his eyes, Dion had performed well in the leaders’ debates and then started to make some gains in the polls. Or more precisely, Stephen Harper was posting losses. After being cast as fortune’s fool for so long, could Dion finally capitalize on an opportunity?
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First that interview.
I asked about his 30-day, five-part “plan” for the economy—meet the premiers, meet the heads of regulatory agencies, meet private-sector economists, release a fiscal update, speed up some infrastructure spending. That’s a lot of meetings, and some ribbon cuttings. What would it change, concretely? What would it make possible that a sitting prime minister wouldn’t already have done?
“Not acting is not an option,” Dion said. “There’s only one head of government claiming he mustn’t act; it’s Stephen Harper. The Europeans act, the Americans act, Harper criticizes them and does nothing.
“We’re going to turn over every stone and see whether, in our regulations, there’s something we can do to better protect savings and mortgages, pensions and jobs. We’ll accelerate investments in infrastructure and manufacturing to create economic activity. We’ll have an economic and fiscal update very quickly, to put everything in place so we can protect ourselves as well as possible. And we’ll bring the provinces and territories in to coordinate our action.”
By John Geddes - Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 10:54 PM - 4 Comments
At about 7:15 p.m., Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a few lines into his stump speech, to a ballroom packed with Tories at Vancouver’s Westin Bayshore, just a short stroll up the seawall from Stanley Park, when an intermittent fire alarm begins to sound.
By John Geddes - Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 8:43 PM - 6 Comments
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will talk to the media tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. on Parliament Hill about process surrounding meetings with the International Monetary Fund and G7 countries. Something to do with the spot of bother on the stock exchanges. And the banks. And the jobs outlook.